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Hamas lawmakers released from Israeli prison

Sept. 8, 2010 6:44 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 10, 2010 4:12 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were released into the West Bank on Wednesday having served several consecutive terms in Administrative Detention.

Officials at the Al-Ahrar Prisoners Society said that Azzam Salhab, 45, was released after 56 months in Israeli prison without charge, and Nizar Abdel Hamid Ramadan, 50, was released for the second time, following his 19 March 2009 detention. He was also kept in administrative detention.

An-Najah University professor Isam Rashed, 52, was also released Wednesday.

Administrative Detention is a form of imprisonment enacted by Israel under the Law of Emergency Powers (1979) which apply to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under the provision, individuals can be held for a period of up to six months without charge. The term is indefinitely renewable.

On 16 August, an Israeli court reduced the detention terms of Ramadan and Salhab by eight days. The court ruled that the Hamas MPs should be released on 8 September instead of 16 September, their original release date.

Ramadan was first detained in 2005, released in 2008, then detained again in March 2009.

Following their release, 10 elected Palestinian officials remain in Israeli prison, seven of them with Hamas' Change and Reform bloc.

Those who remain in prison include: Marwan Al-Barghouthi (Fatah), Jamal Tirawi (Fatah) Ahmad Sa’adat (PFLP) and Hamas members, Hasan Yousef Khalil, Mohammad Abu Teir, Ali Romanin, Basem Za’arir, Ayman Daraghmeh, Abedl Jaber Fokaha, Mohammad Totah.

Hamas leader in Hebron Mohammad Jamal An-Natshah was set to be released on 10 September, the prisoners' society said.

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